This sea salp – which appears like a huge transparent slug from a sci-fi film – has been found on a popular tourist beach on the Spanish island of Menorca.
The Salpa fusiformis, sometimes known as the common salp, is a primitive creature called a colonial tunicate. Unlike jellyfish, they are harmless.
Salps are also considered filter feeders and they eat microscopic plants.
Local NGO ‘GOB Menorca’ described salps as fragile, harmless sea animals and said that they found the large specimen seen in the photos on Pregonda Beach in Menorca.
A GOB Menorca spokesperson said: “Salps do not have tentacles and they are harmless and very fragile so if you ever come across one, do not disturb it.”
However, swimmers can still “enjoy seeing their slow movements underwater from a safe distance”.
The NGO said on Facebook: “This creature, which looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, is actually closer, in evolutionary terms, to humans than jellyfish.”
They also said that salps “play an important role in combating climate change as they absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide and expel it in the form of tiny faecal balls”.
The NGO added: “An average colony is estimated to eliminate 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide in one night.”
GOB Menorca said: “At sea, they can be found individually or as part of a colony of thousands that stretch to around 1.5 kilometres in length.”
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